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Charges against brothers dismissed after 25 years

Murder charges were dismissed against two brothers.  This dismissal came after the brothers had spent 25 years in prison for a crime they denied ever committing.  The county prosecuting attorney announced that she no longer had any plans for retrying the men.

The 1988 conviction was thrown out by a judge in July of 2012.  The matter was scheduled to be retried due to evidence produced suggesting that the brothers may have been misidentified.  In fact, one witness claimed that the killers of the man were black rather than white.  As certain witnesses had died and the memories of others were fading, the county prosecutor decided against going forward with the matter.  But though the matter has been dismissed, it was dismissed without prejudice meaning the brothers could be charged again at some future date.

This appeared to be a matter of witnesses being afraid to come forward when the original matter was tried. While one witness claimed to have been too scared to come forward, he claims he also did not know about the conviction of the two brothers until close to 20 years later.

While this matter did not take place in the Maryland courts, the same kind of circumstances could occur here. Sometimes individuals are convicted for crimes that they did not commit. At other times, witness testimony is brought in at trial that is unreliable.

We need to make certain that individuals do receive a fair trial during any criminal matter. The job of criminal defense attorneys is to make certain that their clients are not convicted based upon circumstantial evidence, an incorrect identification, or wrongful prosecution.

Source: Huffington Post, "Raymond Highers, Tommy Highers Have Charges Dismissed from 1987 Drug Murder," Mike Householder, Sep. 26, 2013

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